Out of Control Policy Blog

Patently crazy

Quick, patent the process of putting on pants one leg at a time. You just might get rich.

Seriously, recent excesses with patent's, from Amazon trying to patent its "one-click" method for bringing up stored customer information when orderin online and beyond--see here and here.

The latest! Some yob wants to patent the idea of selling cereal at a restaurant. Story here.

Patents make sense as a way to secure property rights for something recognizable as an invention. But thanks to entrepreneurial lawyers they are becoming a get-rich quick scheme or a means of eliminating legitimate competition. The incredible stretch by the cereal restaurant guy tells the story. They assert a patent for their "methods and system" of selling cereal. These included: "displaying and mixing competitively branded food products" and adding "a third portion of liquid."

Enough to make you toss your Cheerios.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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